The cellist and conductor Heinrich Schiff today looks back on a career that spans many decades. After his studies with Tobias Kühne and André Navarra he made his debut as a cellist in Vienna and London in 1971. Since then he has been a regular guest of all leading orchestras, at the big music centers and at the major festivals in Europe, North America and Japan. He has been performing with conductors such as Abbado, Celibidache, Chailly, Dohnányi, Eschenbach, Gielen, Haitink, Harnoncourt, Jansons, Masur, Rattle, Salonen, Sawallisch, Sinopoli, Tennstedt and Welser-Möst.
Heinrich Schiff has released recordings of the main cello repertoire, ranging from Vivaldi and Haydn to Lutoslawski and B. A. Zimmermann. Apart from his prize-winning recording of the Bach solo suites and the Shostakovich cello concertos (for the latter he was awarded the "Grand Prix du Disque"), Heinrich Schiff has recorded, among others, the Dvořák cello concerto (Vienna Philharmonic with André Previn) and the Schumann cello concerto (Berlin Philharmonic with Bernard Haitink). There was also widespread critical acclaim for the complete Beethoven works for cello and piano with Till Fellner, released in 2000. His most recent releases include a recording with Frank Peter Zimmermann (duos from Bach to Ravel).
Contemporary music plays an important role in Heinrich Schiff's artistic work – he frequently collaborates with composers such as Luciano Berio, John Casken, Friedrich Cerha, Michael Gielen, Hans Werner Henze, Ernst Krenek, Witold Lutosławski, Krzysztof Penderecki, Matthias Pintscher, Wolfgang Rihm and Hans Zender. At the Salzburg Festival 2006 he performed Johannes Maria Staud's new composition ("Segue") with Daniel Barenboim and the Vienna Philharmonic. With the latter he also gave the premiere of Otto M. Zykan's cello concerto "Beethovens Cello" (conductor: Zubin Mehta).
After a highly acclaimed tour across Europe with the pianist Till Fellner Heinrich Schiff will appear in recitals with the pianist Leif Ove Andsnes in the season 2008/09. He regularly appears in duo recitals with the pianists Polina Leschenko and Martin Helmchen and frequently performs the Bach solo suites.
At the Salzburg Easter Festival 2008 he appeared as soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic under Sir Simon Rattle, performing Dvorák's cello concerto. In June 2008 Heinrich Schiff appeared with the Alban Berg Quartet on their farewell tour with Schubert's String Quintet C Major, in July with the New York Philharmonic under Alan Gilbert with Shostakovich’s 1st cello concerto. In August 2008, together with Frank Peter Zimmermann and Christian Zacharias, he was guest at the major European summer festivals.
In the past 25 years Heinrich Schiff has dedicated half of his artistic work to conducting. As a conductor he appears with many outstanding orchestras, among them Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philharmonia London, Orchestre de Paris, Oslo Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden and Münchner Philharmoniker. Previously he held conducting positions as Principal Conductor and Guest Conductor with the following orchestras: Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Northern Sinfonia, Copenhagen Philharmonic, Radio Sinfonie Orchester Stuttgart, Musikkollegium Winterthur, Brucknerorchester Linz and Wiener KammerOrchester.
Heinrich Schiff plays the famous celli "The Mara" (Stradivarius 1711) and "The Sleeping Beauty" (Montagnana 1739).